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STS-130 Mission Updates: Part 1

DiscoveryAstronauts Laud Shuttle Mission
20 April 2010 11:12 a.m. EDT

Theseven astronautswho returned to Earth aboard NASA's space shuttle Discovery this morningwere all smiles as they disembarked the spacecraft and inspected followingtheir morning landing in Florida. You can watch the action live here.

"Itwas just an incredible mission from start to finish," said pilot JimDutton, who made his first spaceflight on the 15-day mission. The astronauts landedwith Discovery at 9:08 a.m. EDT (1308 GMT) at the Kennedy Space Center inCape Canaveral, Fla., ending NASA's STS-131 mission to stock up theInternational Space Station with fresh supplies, new equipment and spare parts.

NASA'snext shuttle to fly is Atlantis, which is due to launch a new Russian module tothe space station on May 14. That shuttle is due to roll out to the launch padin Florida tonight at 6 p.m. EDT (2200 GMT).

- TariqMalik

NASA is broadcasting Discovery?s STS-131 mission to theInternational Space Station on NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed or follow theNASA TV link at the upper left of this page.

Touchdown!Discovery Lands Safely in Florida
20 April 2010 9:22 a.m. EDT

ShuttleDiscovery and its crew of sevenastronauts have safely landed at Florida's Kennedy Space Center, followinga 15-day mission to the International Space Station (ISS). Discovery toucheddown on Runway 33 at the Shuttle Landing Facility at 9:08 a.m. EDT (1308 GMT)to complete its 38th space voyage, the 131st shuttle flight and the 33rdshuttle mission to the ISS. You can watch the action live here.

 CommanderAlan Poindexter and pilot Jim Dutton maneuvered the Orbiter on its fiery plungethrough the atmosphere and hour-long free-fall descent back to Earth, guidingthe 224,957-pound space plane to its powerless landing on the 3-mile long pavedrunway. All spacecraft systems performed as expected.

 Aconvoy of landing support vehicles is now approaching Discovery and technicianswill soon begin to 'safe' the vehicle ? purging the spacecraft of its toxicpropellants ? to be followed by the astronauts' egress and traditional 'walkaround'of the spacecraft.

 Inaddition to Poindexter and Dutton, the STS-131 mission specialists are RickMastracchio, Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger (who served as Discovery's flightengineer), Stephanie Wilson, Clay Anderson and Japan Aerospace ExplorationAgency astronaut Naoko Yamazaki.

-- Roger Guillemette

NASA is broadcastingDiscovery?s STS-131 mission to the International Space Station on NASA TV.Click here for SPACE.com's NASA TV feed or follow the NASATV link at the upper left of this page.

ShuttleDiscovery on Final Approach
20 April 2010 8:54 a.m. EDT

ShuttleDiscovery is crossing over the heartland of America as it continues its long,gliding approach to Florida's Kennedy Space Center. You can watch the action live here.

Touchdownat the Shuttle Landing Facility - the 74th Florida shuttle landing -is scheduled for 9:08 a.m. EDT (1308 GMT). 

MissionControl confirms all spacecraft systems are performing as expected.

TheOrbiter is flying on a rare northwest to southeast trajectory, having enteredthe Pacific Northwest airspace near Vancouver B.C. and Seattle, across Kansasand Oklahoma, to Alabama and Georgia; finally descending down the center of theFlorida peninsula, east of Gainesville, on its final approach for landing.

CommanderAlan Poindexter, pilot Jim Dutton and flight engineer DottieMetcalf-Lindenburger are piloting the 224,957-pound spaceplanethrough a series of turns and banking maneuvers to slow the vehicle and expendexcess energy in preparation for its powerless landing, culminating with aright overhead turn of 200 degrees to precisely align with Runway 33 ? thesoutheast to northwest landing strip.

NASAastronaut Chris Ferguson has been flying landing approaches in the ShuttleTraining Aircraft ? a specially modified Gulfstream jet that simulates theshuttle's handling characteristics ? and reports that Discovery might encountera few puffy clouds during its final moments of flight.

-- Roger Guillemette

NASA is broadcastingDiscovery?s STS-131 mission to the International Space Station on NASA TV.Click here for SPACE.com's NASA TV feed or follow the NASATV link at the upper left of this page.

DiscoveryRe-entering Earth's Atmosphere  
20 April 2010 8:36 a.m. EDT

ShuttleDiscovery is now transitioning from spacecraft to aircraft, encountering theupper fringes of Earth's atmosphere - known as 'Entry Interface' - at about400,000 feet above the northern Pacific Ocean as it begins its fiery descentand a long, gliding approach to the 3-mile long landing strip at Florida'sKennedy Space Center. You can watch the action live here.

Touchdownon Runway 33 at the Shuttle Landing Facility - the 74th Floridashuttle landing - is scheduled for 9:08 a.m. EDT (1308 GMT). All spacecraftsystems are performing as expected.

Withthe heat on its Thermal Protection System tiles building to 2,500 degrees F,Discovery will be flying on a rare northwest to southeast trajectory, entering thePacific Northwest airspace near Vancouver B.C. and Seattle, across Kansas andOklahoma, to Alabama and Georgia; finally descending down the center of theFlorida peninsula, east of Gainesville, on its final approach for landing.

CommanderAlan Poindexter and pilot Jim Dutton will pilot the 224,957-pound spaceplanethrough a series of turns and banking maneuvers, known as 'roll reversals', toslow the vehicle for its powerless touchdown at the Kennedy Space Center.Weather conditions at the Shuttle Landing Facility are within acceptable limitsfor landing.

-- Roger Guillemette

NASA is broadcastingDiscovery?s STS-131 mission to the International Space Station on NASA TV.Click here for SPACE.com's NASA TV feed or followthe NASA TV link at the upper left of this page.

DiscoveryHeading Home to Florida  
20 April 2010 8:06 a.m. EDT

ShuttleDiscovery has ignited its braking rockets to start a fieryplunge through Earth's atmosphere and a long, gliding descent to theKennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility. Touchdown is scheduled for9:08 a.m. EDT (1308 GMT). You can watch the action live here.

Flyingupside down and backward above the southern Indian Ocean, STS-131 commanderAlan Poindexter and pilot Jim Dutton just completed a 3-minute, 1-second firingof Discovery's twin Orbital Maneuvering System engines to reduce the shuttle'svelocity sufficiently to drop it out of orbit and begin the hour-long free-falldescent back to Earth. The de-orbit burn slowed the Orbiter's velocity by about301 feet/second (approx. 205 miles/hour).

Discoveryand its crew of seven astronauts will first encounter the upper fringes of theatmosphere at about 400,000 feet above the north Pacific Ocean, flyingnorthwest to southeast across the continental United States; from Washington,across Kansas and Oklahoma, to Alabama and Georgia; finally descending down thecenter of the Florida peninsula, east of Gainesville, on its final approach forlanding to Runway 33.

-- Roger Guillemette

NASA is broadcasting Discovery?sSTS-131 mission to the International Space Station on NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com's NASA TV feed or follow the NASATV link at the upper left of this page.

Discovery'Go' for Florida Landing  
20 April 2010 7:45 a.m. EDT

Flightcontrollers have cleared shuttle Discovery for a 9:08 a.m. EDT (1308 GMT)landing at Florida's Kennedy Space Center where weather conditions havestabilized for the space plane's return to Earth. You can watch the action live here.

CommanderAlan Poindexter and pilot Jim Dutton have been given the 'Go' to initiate thede-orbit burn at about 8:02 a.m. EDT (1202 GMT).

Discoverywill touch down on the second of today's two Florida landing opportunities ? alayer of ground fog has burned-off sufficiently for a landing attempt and a bandof offshore rain showers will remain outside of the mandated 30-nautical mileperimeter around NASA?s Shuttle Landing Facility.

Discovery'stwin Orbital Maneuvering System engines will be fired for 3 minutes and 1second to slow the Orbiter's velocity by about 206 mph (or 303 feet/sec),sufficient to begin its fiery descent through Earth's atmosphere and a glidingapproach to the 3-mile long landing strip at the Kennedy Space Center.

NASAastronaut Chris Ferguson has been flying landing approaches to Runway 33 in theShuttle Training Aircraft ? a specially modified Gulfstream jet that simulatesthe shuttle's handling characteristics ? evaluating the weather conditions thatDiscovery will encounter on its approach and landing.

-- Roger Guillemette

NASA is broadcastingDiscovery?s STS-131 mission to the International Space Station on NASA TV.Click here for SPACE.com's NASA TV feed or follow the NASATV link at the upper left of this page.

DiscoveryAims For Florida Landing
20 April 2010 7:00 a.m. EDT

ShuttleDiscovery is proceeding with preparationsto land at Florida's Kennedy Space Center. You can watch the action live here.

EntryFlight Director Bryan Lunney is increasingly confident the sunrise willburn-off ground fog and that an offshore band of rain showers will remainoutside of the mandated 30-nautical mile perimeter around NASA?s ShuttleLanding Facility to support a landing on this morning's second opportunity.

IfFlorida weather conditions continue to stabilize, Discovery commander AlanPoindexter and pilot Jim Dutton would initiate the de-orbit burn at about 8:03a.m. EDT (1203 GMT), resulting in a 9:08 a.m. EDT ( 1308 GMT) touchdown on itsprimary landing strip at the Florida spaceport.

Flight controllers have given the STS-131 crew the go-ahead tobegin "fluid loading," a process where the astronauts drink largequantities of fluids to rehydrate themselves in preparation for their return toEarth's gravity.The seven astronauts have donned their bright orange launch-and-entry pressuresuits and taken their seats in preparation for landing.

NASAastronaut Chris Ferguson has been flying landing approaches in the ShuttleTraining Aircraft ? a specially modified Gulfstream jet that simulates theshuttle's handling characteristics ? monitoring the offshore showers andevaluating the weather conditions that Discovery would encounter on itsapproach and landing to the Kennedy Space Center.

-- Roger Guillemette

NASA is broadcastingDiscovery?s STS-131 mission to the International Space Station on NASA TV.Click here for SPACE.com's NASA TV feed or follow the NASATV link at the upper left of this page.

DiscoveryAims for Second Landing Opportunity
20 April 2010 6:11 a.m. EDT

Spaceshuttle Discovery will not land at Florida's Kennedy Space Center on the firstof its two possible landing opportunities this morning due to unacceptableweather conditions; however, flight controllers are evaluating landing optionsthat will bring Discovery home later this morning, either in Florida orCalifornia. You can watch the action live here.

EntryFlight Director Bryan Lunney waved-off Discovery's first landing opportunity atFlorida's Kennedy Space Center due to the potential for ground fog as well asoffshore rain showers that are developing too close to the Orbiter's projectedflight path ? a violation of landing weather criteria.

Discoverycan land on either coast on its next orbit. The first landing option availablewould be at the alternate landing site at Edwards AFB, California, resulting ina touchdown at 9:01 a.m. EDT (1301 GMT); a second landing opportunity atFlorida's Kennedy Space Center is available seven minutes later, at 9:08 a.m.EDT (1308 GMT), weather permitting.

Discoverycould also land at Edwards AFB on subsequent orbits, with potential touchdownsat about 10:36 a.m. EDT (1436 GMT) and about 12:11 p.m. EDT (1611 GMT). Weatherconditions at Edwards AFB are near-ideal for a landing attempt today.

NASAastronaut Chris Ferguson has been flying landing approaches in the ShuttleTraining Aircraft ? a specially modified Gulfstream jet that simulates theshuttle's handling characteristics ? closely monitoring the rain showers andevaluating the weather conditions that Discovery would encounter on itsapproach and landing to the Kennedy Space Center.

-- Roger Guillemette

NASA is broadcasting Discovery?sSTS-131 mission to the International Space Station on NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com's NASA TV feed or follow the NASATV link at the upper left of this page.

UnstableWeather Scrubs Discovery Landing
19 April 2010 8:57 a.m. EDT

Spaceshuttle Discovery will remain in orbit for another day. Unstable weatherconditions ? a combination of low clouds and persistent rain showers - forcedNASA flight controllers to wave-off both of this morning?s possible landingopportunities at Florida's Kennedy Space Center. You can watch the action live here.

Readthe full story

EntryFlight Director Bryan Lunney made the 'wave-off' determination aftermeteorologists again forecast 'No-Go' conditions for the second and finalFlorida landing opportunity.

Thealternate landing site at Edwards AFB, California was not activated for landingtoday; however, both Kennedy Space Center and Edwards AFB will be available forlanding opportunities on Tuesday. Discovery has sufficient consumables toremain in orbit until Wednesday.

Discoverywill have five landing opportunities available on Tuesday; two in Florida andthree in California. The first Kennedy Space Center opportunity would occur atabout 7:33 a.m. EDT (1133 GMT) with a second chance at about 9:08 a.m. EDT(1308 GMT). The first Edwards AFB opportunity would be at about 9:00 a.m. EDT(1300 GMT), the second at about 10:36 a.m. EDT (1436 GMT) and the finalopportunity at about 12:11 p.m. EDT (1611 GMT).

TheSpaceflight Meteorology Group's Florida landing weather forecast for Tuesdayimproves with a forecast of scattered and broken clouds, but just a slightchance of rain showers near the Shuttle Landing Facility. Conditions at EdwardsAFB are predicted to be near-perfect for a landing.

-- Roger Guillemette

NASA is broadcastingDiscovery?s STS-131 mission to the International Space Station on NASA TV.Click here for SPACE.com's NASA TV feed or follow the NASATV link at the upper left of this page.

Visibility Improving at Shuttle Landing Site
19 April 2010 8:29 a.m. EDT

Mission Control has radioed the shuttle Discovery to say that visibility is improving atthe Shuttle Landing Facility in Florida, though some persistent rain showersare still in the area. You can watch the action live here.

Theastronauts received the go-ahead to begin consuming large amounts of liquids(like chicken consomm? and other drinks) to replenish the fluids they lostwhile flying in orbit. The fluid-loading activity helps better equip astronautsfor the return to Earth.

Low clouds and rainy weather prompted NASA to skip the landing try for an 8:48.m. EDT (1248 GMT) touchdown at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The nextlanding opportunity will be at 10:23 a.m. EDT (1423 GMT). To make that landingwindow, Discovery will have to fire its engines at 9:17 a.m. EDT (1317 GMT).

- TariqMalik

NASA is broadcasting Discovery?s STS-131 mission to theInternational Space Station on NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com'sNASA TV feed or follow theNASA TV link at the upper left of this page.

Shuttle Astronauts Waved Off 1st Landing Try
19 April 2010 7:23 a.m. EDT

MissionControl wavedoff the first landing try for space shuttle Discovery, giving itsseven-astronaut crew one more chance to attempt to land in Florida today.? Youcan watch the action live here.

Low clouds and rainy weatherprompted NASA to skipthe landing try for an 8:48 .m. EDT (1248 GMT) touchdown at the KennedySpace Center in Florida. The next landing opportunity will be at 10:23 a.m. EDT(1423 GMT). To make that landing window, Discovery will have to fire itsengines at 9:17 a.m. EDT (1317 GMT).

-Tariq Malik

NASA is broadcastingDiscovery?s STS-131 mission to the International Space Station on NASA TV.Click here for SPACE.com's NASA TV feed or follow the NASATV link at the upper left of this page.

NASA Watching Weather for Shuttle Landing
19 April 2010 6:38 a.m. EDT

Astronautsaboard space shuttle Discovery are preparing for their plannedmorning landing in Florida, but only it Mother Nature allows. Rain may delaytheir planned 8:48 a.m. EDT (1248 GMT) return to Earth. Youcan watch the action live here.

Discovery has two chances to land at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Floridatoday. The second opportunity is at 10:23 a.m. EDT (1423 GMT). The shuttle'sreturn to Earth may even be visible to skywatchers across the country, sincethe shuttle crossing the United States from the northwest to southeast duringits return. Findout how to see the shuttle's re-entry.

-Tariq Malik

NASA is broadcastingDiscovery?s STS-131 mission to the International Space Station on NASA TV.Click here for SPACE.com's NASA TV feed or follow the NASATV link at the upper left of this page.

Astronauts Prepare Shuttle Discovery for Landing
18 April 2010 5:34 a.m. EDT

Astronauts aboardNASA's space shuttle Discovery are preparing their spacecraft for its eventualreturn through Earth's atmosphere. Youcan watch the action live here.

The astronauts testedtheir shuttle's thrusters and flight control surfaces to make sure they'reworking properly ahead of Monday's planned 8:48 a.m. EDT (1248 GMT) landing atthe Kennedy Space Center in Florida. They will also spend the bulk of the daypacking up tools, supplies and othergear they took out during their 14-day mission.

Discovery has twochances to land in Florida on Monday, though NASA is watching the weather tomake sure conditions are clear for the shuttle's return. The vastvolcanic ash cloud from Iceland'sEyjafjallaj?kull volcano will pose no threat to the shuttle's re-entry.

-Tariq Malik

NASA is broadcastingDiscovery?s STS-131 mission to the International Space Station on NASA TV.Click here for SPACE.com's NASA TV feed or follow the NASATV link at the upper left of this page.

Shuttle Astronauts Prepare to Leave Station
17 April 2010 4:09 a.m. EDT

Astronautson the space shuttle Discovery are preparing to undock from the InternationalSpace Station after about nine days docked at the orbiting lab. Youcan watch the action live here.

Theshuttle is due to undock at about 8:58 a.m. EDT (1258 GMT) and aim for a Mondaymorning landing in Florida. The 13 astronauts aboard the linked shuttleDiscovery and station will hold a farewell ceremony to say their goodbyes at5:56 a.m. EDT (1056 GMT).

-Tariq Malik

NASA is broadcastingDiscovery?s STS-131 mission to the International Space Station on NASA TV.Click here for SPACE.com's NASA TV feed or follow the NASATV link at the upper left of this page.

No EmergencySpacewalk for Shuttle Astronauts
15 April 2010 3:14 a.m. EDT

NASA on Wednesdayruled out the need to add a fourth, extra spacewalk to the shuttle Discovery?smission to the International Space Station after deciding a stuck valve in theoutpost?s new ammonia cooling system tank does not need to be fixedimmediately. Youcan watch the action live here.

Mission Controlradioed Discovery?s crew late Wednesday night (the crew?s ?morning?) to let theastronauts know that no extra docked day or spacewalk at the space stationwould be required. The stucknitrogen valve in the ammonia tank does not need to be fixed or replacedfor at least another month, giving mission managers time to plan out a repairand try other, non-spacewalk fixes. Readmore about the space station problem.

"We appreciateall the extra effort that went into quickly looking at that option and we'reglad that the station will be fine without the extra [spacewalk] here for alittle bit,? Discovery commander Alan Poindexter said. ?Thanks a lot!"

Today is Flight Day10 of Discovery?s 14-day STS-131 mission to the International Space Station.

-Tariq Malik

NASA is broadcastingDiscovery?s STS-131 mission to the International Space Station on NASA TV.Click here for SPACE.com's NASA TV feed or follow the NASATV link at the upper left of this page.

Final STS-131Spacewalk Ends at ISS
13 April 2010 8:48 a.m. EDT

The Quest airlockaboard the International Space Station is repressurizing,officially ending today?s 3rd and last STS-131 mission spacewalk outside theorbiting lab for Discovery astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Clayton Anderson. Youcan watch the action live here.

The spacewalk beganat 2:14 a.m. EDT (0614 GMT) and was aimed at hooking up a new ammonia tank onthe station and storing an old on aboard Discovery for the ride home.

Total SpacewalkingTime: 6 hours, 34 minutes. Clickhere for the full story.

-Tariq Malik

NASA is broadcastingDiscovery?s STS-131 mission to the International Space Station on NASA TV.Click here for SPACE.com's NASA TV feed or follow the NASATV link at the upper left of this page.

Spacewalkers Returnto ISS Airlock
13 April 2010 8:37 a.m. EDT

Spacewalkers RickMastracchio and Clayton Anderson are back inside the airlock on theInternational Space Station and are preparing to end today?s orbital work. Youcan watch the action live here.

They are wrapping upa nearly 6.5-hour spacewalk to hook up a new ammonia coolant tank and stow anold, empty on aboard Discovery.

-Tariq Malik

NASA is broadcastingDiscovery?s STS-131 mission to the International Space Station on NASA TV.Click here for SPACE.com's

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